"This song seems pretty straightforward. 'Modern Man' refers to present-day humans and this song tells how man consumes nature and earth for all it's resources without thinking that maybe one day these resources will expire and we will be left with nothing. Thus, this will be our downfall and the cause of our extinction. This world contains natural ecosystems that are balanced but man destroys these, we give and do not return. We are then in comparison to most other animals and organisms in this world a 'pathetic example of earth's organic heritage,' for although we have 'superior intellect' over other organisms we cannot perform tasks that simple organisms perform in order to maintain a natural balance in our ecosystem."
"As a quick tack-on to Samhain138's interpretation, I think it is important to distinguish between "can't" and "don't. As was mentioned, mankind has historically consumed with reckless disregard to his own surroundings. While true that other species existed without harming the eco-system and human beings didn't, this was at that point, a perfectly acceptable practice. That is to say, up until homo sapien sapien expanded to six billion. The sad truth of it is, at one time, the planet could support our arrogance as a 'superior' species. Now that we are six billion (and growing in series), we don't have much hope of restoring the natural balance of the planet, no matter how responsible we become. As it stands right now, we are fighting merely to slow the downward spiral of our planet's existence. More a comment then an interpretation I know, but I thought it was an important statement."
"I think the song 'Modern Man'' is describing man today. It describes our thoughts and actions that we do, but yet we don't notice that we do this. For example, Greg Graffin says: 'Modern man: Evolutionary betrayer
Modern man: Ecosystem destroyer
Modern man: Destroy yourself in shame
Modern man: Pathetic example of Earth's organic heritage.'
Also I think that the song tells us that we assume too much."
-Axle The Punk
"Karl Jung wrote some material on 'Modern Man searching for the Soul.' Perhaps this song is a challenge to Karl Jung's thoughts."
"It's problem of everyone the destruction of the planet so for me the fundaments of punk are that all of we can be happy in the short period of life and being tolerant with people that have differences but if someone's actions perjurer me I will rebel against them, like the fucking governmental systems that forbid the freedom of the average people that are not part of the monarchies and the luster of the society, so in this song Greg is talking about how material and superficial things can kill Gaia, and that our ancestors lived better than we do now, without concerns about the lack of oxygen or the increase of the heat or other problems that we live now in our reality, so the solution of this problem is to end the capitalism system ruled by the big corporations that are interested jus about the fucking green paper."
"I agree with every post about this song, yet I want to expand very slightly. I think the first verse of the song, before the first chorus, is a "modern man" talking. He doesn't care about anything, his only worry is when he will die. Fuck the environment, fuck the planet; mankind cares nothing for these things. Then the second verse is that same "modern man" looking back at not only his faults, but the faults of the new "modern men", for he is not a "modern man" anymore, but a shadow of the past. He see's how his generation ruined things, and how the new one is making it worse. Yet, he can't do anything, it is too late for him. Which is exactly how man functions today. We consume and destroy and don't realize our faults until it is too late. What a brilliant song."